'It's mind-boggling:' Parents, teachers reaction to Wake County's plan to bring elementary, middle school students back to classroom

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some Wake County students will begin returning to the classroom in less than a month.

The Board of Education approved a plan Tuesday night.

The schedule for reentry is staggered and based on your child's grade:

  • K-3, as well as Special Ed students, resume Oct. 26
  • 4th and 5th graders go back Nov. 16
  • 6th, 7th and 8th return Nov. 9


All of those students will be phased in during three week rotations.

There are no changes for high school students. They're sticking to remote learning.

WCPSS votes to bring elementary, middle school students back to classrooms; high school to remain virtual through semester

Many people feel blindsided by the Wake County Board of Education's decision on this plan.

"It's mind-boggling. It's very confusing," said parent Kelly Mann.

Mann has been leading a charge to get back into the classroom. She thinks in-person learning is critical to development.

"Watching my child, watching her try her hardest and seeing her frustrated and wondering if this is going to turn her away from learning," said Mann.

Some educators feel the district should be staying the course with virtual learning.

"We aren't ready," said Joyner Elementary School 3rd grade teacher Fran Cameron.

Cameron is not even sure how to roll out lesson plans with three-week rotations.

"They're going to be super hard, even harder than remote learning I think you're going to have eight kids in class and 16 kids on a computer. You don't know where to look or how to balance your time," said Cameron.

Educators weren't surveyed about their willingness or comfortability returning to the classroom.

Wake is putting new safety protocols in place for staff and students.

Employees will be required to complete a daily symptom screening, wear a cloth face covering inside buildings or anywhere on school grounds and maintain social distancing when possible. A staff member could be fired if they don't comply.

Along the same lines, students might be suspended if they disregard the rules.

NCAE-Wake County President Kristin Beller said the guidelines are not enough.

"We cannot adhere to the 3Ws," said Beller. "We are knowingly putting staff and students into a position where the things we have said will keep folks safe, most important to do, cannot be done. It's impossible."

Wake said schools are now well-equipped with PPE and additional supplies.

The district has 900,000 reusable face coverings to disperse and there will be a sanitizing station in every classroom.
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